Cultural depictions of Margaret Thatcher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Margaret Thatcher in the arts and popular culture was mostly seen as a hate-filled, miserly figure,[1] who attracted musical opprobrium like no other British political leader.[2][3] This is divergent from mainstream opinion polling which tends to place her as the most revered postwar prime minister.[4][5] Favourable depictions make up a small group and among these is the Oscar-winning 2011 film Iron Lady.[1]

This page is a list of depictions of Margaret Thatcher on stage, in film, TV, radio, literature, music and in other forms of the arts and entertainment.


Television drama[edit]


  • Billy Elliot the Musical (2005) contains the song Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher by Elton John
  • Market Boy (2006) – set in a marketplace in 1980s Romford, a character called "Posh Lady" is meant to resemble Thatcher. When the play debuted at the National Theatre in London, she was played by Nicola Blackwell
  • The Death of Margaret Thatcher (2008) – Thatcher's coffin is onstage throughout the play, which deals with the cast's differing reactions to her death
  • Handbagged (2010) – a play shown at the Tricycle Theatre in London as part of its Women, Power and Politics festival. Handbagged examined the relationship between Thatcher and the Queen. The younger Mrs Thatcher was portrayed by Claire Cox and the elder by Stella Gonet. Handbagged was later expanded by its writer Moira Buffini and presented as a full play at the Tricycle in late 2013. The director was Indhu Rubasingham
  • Little Madam – a play by James Graham, exploring the life and career of Mrs Thatcher, presented at the Finborough Theatre, London
  • Thatcher – The Musical!
  • The Audience (2013, played in the premiere production by Haydn Gwynne)
  • Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho (2013–present) A drag comedy musical play imagining what life would have been like if Margaret Thatcher had got lost in Soho on the eve of the vote for section 28. It was performed in December 2013 at Theatre503 in London, in August 2014 at the Edinburgh Fringe and is transferring to London once again in March 2015 at the Leicester Square Theatre. [6]


Thatcher caricature puppet used in Spitting Image.




While in power, Thatcher was the subject of several songs which opposed her government, including The Beat's "Stand Down Margaret",[10] as well as a sarcastic declaration of faux adoration (Notsensibles' "I'm in Love with Margaret Thatcher"). After she left government, several songs called for her death or looked forward to celebration of her death,[1] including Morrissey's "Margaret on the Guillotine" ("The kind people have a wonderful dream, Margaret on the guillotine"), Elvis Costello's "Tramp the Dirt Down" ("I'll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down"), Hefner's "The Day That Thatcher Dies" ("We will dance and sing all night") and Pete Wylie's "The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies" ("She's gone!, And nobody cries").[11] The song "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead", from The Wizard of Oz, rose to #2 in the UK singles chart after Thatcher died.

Songs with Thatcher as the subject include:

Roger Waters in 1983 referred to Thatcher disrespectfully as "Maggie" multiple times throughout the Pink Floyd album The Final Cut. In the song The Fletcher Memorial Home Waters calls "Maggie" an overgrown infant and an incurable tyrant. At the end of the song he quietly speaks of applying the final solution to her and other famous world leaders.[16][17][18] The band Genesis in 1986 utilized a puppet representing her (as well as other politicians) in the music video: Land of Confusion from the album Invisible Touch.[19] French singer Renaud ("Miss Maggie, 1985").

Protest songs[edit]

Thatcher was the subject or the inspiration for several protest songs. Paul Weller was a founding member of Red Wedge collective, which unsuccessfully sought to oust Thatcher with the help of music. In 1987, they organised a comedy tour with British comedians Lenny Henry, Ben Elton, Robbie Coltrane, Harry Enfield and others.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c ROBERT EVERETT-GREEN (April 8, 2013). "Margaret Thatcher in pop culture: A Scrooge with all the power and no midnight conversion". The Globe and Mail. 
  2. ^ KEN SWEENEY (9 April 2013). "Everyone cheered when she quit". Evening Herald (Dublin). 
  3. ^ Music Blog (8 April 2013). "Five songs about Margaret Thatcher". The Guardian. 
  4. ^ "YouGov / Sunday Times Survey Results" (PDF). YouGov. 
  5. ^ Kassam, Raheem. "MARGARET THATCHER STILL NUMBER 1 IN POLL OF BRITISH MPS". Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Reynolds, Gillian (30 November 2009). "A Family Affair (Radio 4): a Lovable, impossible and ingenious portrait of Mrs T – review". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  10. ^ a b c Eggers, Dave (2004) "And Now, a Less Informed Opinion", SPIN, October 2004, p. 66-8
  11. ^ a b c Shennan, Paddy (2008) "Why the hatchets are out for an old enemy", Liverpool Echo, 24 September 2008, retrieved 2012-03-28
  12. ^ "Paul's Song Rips Thatcher", Chicago Sun-Times, 27 November 1990, p. 20
  13. ^ Goddard, Simon (2009) Mozipedia, Ebury Press, ISBN 978-0091927097, p. 249
  14. ^ Gundersen, Edna (16 April 2013). "I'm There song reissue mocks Margaret Thatcher on day of funeral". USA Today. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  15. ^ Lewis, Randy (16 April 2013). "Album skewering Margaret Thatcher to be reissued on April 17". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ www, ‘’Canzoni contro la Guerra’’: “The Fletcher Memorial Home” [1]. Accessed June 25, 2012.
  18. ^ Library of Congress LCCN: The final cut. Pink Floyd. LC control no. 93711744. Music Sound Recording. Publisher no. QC38243 Columbia. Rock music—1981–1990.[2].
  19. ^ Library of Congress LCCN: Invisible touch. Genesis. LC control no. 91758551. Music Sound Recording. Publisher no. 81641-1-E Atlantic/7 81641-1-E Atlantic. Rock music—1981–1990.[3].
  20. ^ Heard, Chris (4 May 2004). "Rocking against Thatcher". BBC News.